If you agree with this, please sign it as an open letter to the public that we are sending to the Guardian. You can add your name (and organisation, if any) in the comments box and we will then add this to the letter. Alternatively, this letter is now also here on the national 999 Call for the NHS website, with a proper instant sign up form, so you can sign it there instead, if you like. We aim to send it to the Guardian first thing Tuesday morning ( 30 August), so please add your name before then. (Please feel free to also send it to your local newpapers.)
Dear Members of the Public,
A secret process to cut and further privatise the NHS is charging ahead across England. It goes under the name of Sustainability and Transformation Plans (STPs).
STPs are being drawn up in conditions of secrecy imposed by NHS England – as their North Midlands Director of Commissioning Operations, Wendy Saviour, told a recent meeting of Shropshire Clinical Commissioning Group:
“STPs are not meant to be published at all. They should not go to Board meetings. Some of them contain very radical things… These are highly political and highly contentious. Once they’re washed off and the national messages are gathered together, they will be published.”
We the undersigned think this is a very bad idea and call for protests at local authorities’ Health & Wellbeing Board meetings, Clinical Commissioning Group meetings and at NHS England offices.
There is NO legal basis for this huge, top-down NHS re-disorganisation
Local authorities’ Health and Wellbeing Boards are notionally responsible for seeing that STP governance and decision making processes “maintain democratic legitimacy”.
How is this possible, when there is no statutory basis for “footprint” STPs – which are being drawn up by organisations operating without any formal governance process, beyond a Memorandum of Understanding which is of uncertain legal status?
Councillors need to explain to the public how they can square their duty to represent and fully inform us, with their collusion in NHS England’s imposition of secrecy and dubious legality.
STPs are highly political and highly contentious because they involve huge cuts and NHS privatisation by a process of parcelling up the NHS into a new form of public/private partnership called Accountable Care Organisations – think PFI, but for services as well as buildings.
All this is being carried out without ANY legislation to approve the transfer of NHS assets and services to these new forms of PFI.
The outcome will be an NHS that offers reduced services, ends national terms and conditions for staff and is modelled on private American health insurance schemes.
A big stick and a tiny carrot to finish off the NHS as a comprehensive, universal public service
Under the new Sustainability and Transformation Plan, England has been divided into 44 ‘footprints’ which must make huge spending and service cuts and increase NHS privatisation in order to access “transformation” funds.
The STP is a very large stick and a very small carrot, to impose cuts and privatisation on our already struggling health service.
The so-called STP “financial reset” – snuck out by NHS England just after Parliament went on holiday, and so was unable to scrutinise it – imposes new draconian spending cuts on hospital trusts. There has been no public statement of what these cuts will mean, in terms of staff and services.
The STP “financial reset” has also driven newly cash-strapped Clinical Commissioning Groups to plan to withdraw various NHS treatments and to cherry pick patients for so-called Procedures of Limited Clinical Value (PLCV).
According to the Royal College of Surgeons, PLCV basically means any elective procedures the CCGs don’t want to fund – even though they are recommended by NICE and have clear therapeutic value.
The introduction via the STP of new “community care” models and contracts for GPs opens the door to privatisation of community and primary care – as is already happening elsewhere with companies like Virgin Care gobbling up community health & social care contracts and private companies taking over GP contracts. GPs’ representative bodies, the Local Medical Committees, have complained about their exclusion from any consultation over the STPs in their areas.
The effect on our NHS and social care services will be severe. We vehemently oppose this dogmatic policy which will put lives at risk. If you want to let NHS England know what you think about their imposition of secret STPs, here is where you can find contact details for your regional office
STP protests are already afoot in several Footprints. To find out more, please contact us.
Jenny Shepherd, Chair, Calderdale & Kirklees 999 Call for the NHS,
Steven Carne, 999 Call for the NHS
Madeleine Dickens, Sussex Defend the NHS
Jackie Grunsell, Huddersfield GP
Deborah Harrington, National Health Action Party Campaign Team
Christine Hyde, North Kirklees Support the NHS
Jackie Brook, Friends of Huddersfield Royal Infirmary
Chrissie Parker, Friends of Huddersfield Royal Infirmary
Jane Rendle, Calderdale 38 Degrees NHS Campaign
Rosemary Hedges, Chair, Calderdale 38 Degrees NHS Campaign
Victoria Kennedy, Huddersfield KONP
Sandra Shearn, Calderdale 38 Degrees NHS Campaign
Dr Alex Scott-Samuel
Coral Jones, GP in City and Hackney
Ted Schrecker, Professor of Global Health Policy,School of Medicine, Pharmacy and Health, Queen’s Campus, Durham University
Paul Cooney, Huddersfield KONP
Charles Gate, Calderdale Green Party
Colin Hutchinson FRCOphth
Dr Helen Salisbury
GP and member of National Health Action Party
Stephanie Clarke, Calderdale 38 degrees NHS Campaign, Calderdale & Kirklees 999 Call for the NHS.
Simon Duffy, Kirklees Green Party
Thorn da Costa
Jody Clark and Fighting 4 Grantham Hospital
Claire Copple, 999 Call for the NHS, Unison
Brigid Harbour. Retired NHS worker
Katherine Edwards – proud NHS nurse. I will do WHATEVER IT TAKES to save our NHS. You have been warned!
Anne Jeavons, Principal Clinical Psychologist
Netti Pearson member of North Devon Green Party and NHS campaigner
Mark Bestwick, Grantham
Vera Horstead, Belton Ave, Grantham Lincs
Dr MP McGrail Brown
Ian Wonnacott, Psychotherapist
Andrea English, Advanced Nurse Practitioner and Friends of Huddersfield Royal Infirmary
Hackney People’s Assembly Against Austerity
Jean Hardiman Smith, Defend Our NHS Cheshire
George Binette, Camden UNISON Branch Secretary and Chair of Camden Trades Council
Barbara Harris, North Kirklees Support the NHS
Bleddyn Harris, North Kirklees Support the NHS
Sussex Defend the NHS
Stephen Maclean, Chair, Sussex Partnership Unison Branch
Marion Macalpine, Hackney
Paul Goulden, Dewsbury 38 Degrees
Berni Bertola, HX2 9PZ
Dr Mike Galvin, Wakefield
Julie Ingram for Barnsley Save Our NHS
Katherine Horner, member Calderdale & Kirklees 999 Call for the NHS & Calderdale Green Party
Dave Wardell, Green Party Councillor, Todmorden Town Council
Penny Marrington, Green Party Councillor, Todmorden Town Council
Ant Peter, Calderdale Green Party member
Jennifer Devlin, North Kirklees Support the NHS
Robin Asby, Calderdale Green Party member
Freda Davis, Calderdale Green Party member
Carol Ackroyd, Secretary, Hackney KONP
Julie Miller, NHS employee
Mel Walker, Children’s Learning Disability Nurse
Samantha Coster (stay at home mum) Milton Keynes
Dave Ash, National Health Action Party Executive Committee Member (http://nhap.org.) KOSHH – Keep Our St Helier Hospital Campaign (http://koshh.org)
Taxpayer and therefore shareholder in our National Health Service.
Steve Connor, Darlington
Sandra Ash, Keep Our St Helier Hospital
Bob Steel, Croydon & Sutton Green party
Reverend Myra Dillistone
Alan Greathead, Save the Alexandra Hospital, Redditch
Tom Rubens, Member of Hackney People’s Assembly
Gaynor Lord, Brent KONP
Peter Reisdorf, Liberal Democrat Candidate for Wirral West
Alan Martin, Unite member, NHS employee
Maeve Tomlinson, Sutton and Croydon Green Party and Sutton KONP
Dr M D Magee
Peter Claydon; North Kirklees Support the NHS
Sheila, Anthony, Laura & Shelley Elson, Friends of HRI